Bandwidth

Sorry for spamming you all, I meant to mention this in my last update :)

Another point that should be born in mind is that most of the adult entries that minors shouldn’t be exposed to (eg. the explicit/graphic ones) will generally cause a greater load on our server and thus increase the amount of bandwidth we are using. The money we get back from the AVS account will ensure that Adult diaries don’t cause the site to slow down for the majority that aren’t writing the high bandwidth stuff.

Matt.

External Points of View

First off, thanks to Eliezer for providing some alternative suggestions.

Next, LisaMarie passed us a link to an article she found on Wired, Age Verification – it contains details that even I wasn’t fully aware of.

Rather than my rabbitting on, i’ll let you draw your own conclusions, I just thought it would be an interesting extra to the discussion.

Matt.

Credit Card Fraud?

If credit card charges are not sufficient proof, as we’ve heard from one ‘knowledgeable’ person – then our only POSSIBLE alternative is to ban erotica of any form from appearing in diaries. There IS no other alternative because we cannot be sure that over 16’s (actually you DONT need to be over 18 to buy or read erotica, at least not in the UK, since you’re allowed to have sex at 16) won’t be able to gain access to it, or stumble across it.

There is NO other alternative because there is no technology which exists in order to even get close to proving your identity online.

I’d like to meet the 3 year old that can fill out a credit card application, much less use it online. And I pity the company trying to get the money back on that because a 3 year old is not responsible and therefore cannot have debt. That is tantamount to credit card fraud because I am pretty sure, at least in the UK, you have to sign to say you are over 18 and legally responsible for the debts you run up.

To Eliezer I say (and I wrote a nice long entry, all eloquent and stuff, but IE ate it) that you’re missing the point. When I take my child to the playground I expect that it is a safe place for her to play. I do not expect to have to inspect each object on which she may play before she uses it. I expect that the park owners will have done their best to ensure the grounds in which she plays is as safe as possible. And so it is here.

To state ‘Its the parents responsibility to police their children’ shows a distinct lack of understanding of internet technologies and the protections which parents even CAN employ. I won’t sit and watch over my daughters shoulder while she surfs the net. Thats a gross invasion of her privacy. She doesn’t want to look at porn. And she doesn’t want to stumble over it either and here at DearDiary.Net it WAS all too easy to stumble over. Its like saying you shouldn’t need a fence beside the motorway because parents should stop their children running into the road. Or the parents should go to school with them too because, well, its the parents responsibility what they do there.

You HAVE to accept the fact that parents cannot watch their children 24/7. They do their best to safeguard their kids, but sometimes automatic measures and helpful systems, such as a high fence beside the motorway, or teachers and prefects at school, are required.

As a responsible parent I would have installed something like SurfWatch or Net Nanny. Without adequate child protection mechanisms in place, this site will be banned from those packages, if they’re not already. Total. No negotiations or notifications, we’ll be banned. Thats it, now my daughter can’t use a site which I myself setup with the intention of giving people, including kids, somewhere to vent.

As an author of Erotica its up to YOU to prevent that being distributed to underage minors. You face a jail sentence if you don’t, so we’re also offering protection to the erotica authors.

To suggest we run only an authentication check on users credit cards shows as much of a lack of understanding of business as of internet technologies and surf protections. Credit cards exist for one purpose. To make money for the issuer by providing a convenient way for you to spend money. Merchants with a credit card processing facility exist for one purpose and one only. To make money for Visa or Mastercard. Thats ALL. If we apply for merchant status (leaving aside the overhead of us actually having to process all these transactions for one moment) they will DEMAND that we specify our intended turnover on the card. I know, I was a credit card merchant for long enough. They will not accept 0 as a valid amount and they will want explanations when we fail to fulfil our side of the contract if we specify anything other.

Add to that the cost of our time for processing and you see why we use an external agency, AND why it costs money.

Now, whether some adult can sign their 3 year old up for a credit card or not is actually useful, given that the use of credit card in SOME form, is the ONLY useable method we have of quickly determining you are at least over 16, do you, Eliezer, believe we should stop Erotica and other adult material altogether at this site?

On the subject of profitting off other people’s non-commercial works, we are not profitting from anything of the sort. We LOSE around $550 a month for running this site. At least. That aside, even if we were turning a profit on this site, we are not profitting from their non commercial works. We are not distributing them, we’re not restricting where they can sell/publish them, we’re not doing anything, in fact, except providing for free a place where they can indulge their fantasies. Potentially we’re profitting from the people who want to READ these diaries, but you have a choice dont you? If you have a problem with us profitting from anything, stop using the service. Go to diaryland, there’s no checks in place there. There’s no profitting there. Go to OpenDiary.com if you like. We won’t cry about it.

If authors object to being responsible they can go as well. Most diaries here won’t need to be moved to the Adult section, but there are some diaries that are explicitly set up and written in for the plain and simple fun of arousal. The authors own arousal and yours. They exist, and they have been written in. And their authors are the first to admit they don’t like kids having access to them. The adult section is aimed mainly at the people that want to write sexually explicit entire diaries, Casanova, for one example, was mortified when he realised that kids could read his work too.

And there is no witch hunt atmosphere over this at all! The system is there to provide precisely the opposite! Its there to protect the kids AND the erotica authors. I fail to see how thats a witch hunt!

Personally, I believe your objection is purely because you don’t see that reading erotic diaries is worth $20 a year and you’re mad because you used to enjoy reading them. I don’t think your objections have a thing to do with parental responsibility or automated systems to assist parents keep their kids as safe as is technically possible, and as such I am wasting my already scarce time because you’ll never be convinced otherwise.

What is Adult?

Hey all, Matt here :)

I just got back from the theater with my wife and my mailbox is flooded with the fun Steve has been having, so I thought i’d toss my quart of petrol onto the fire :)

What is Adult Material?

This question cannot be answered black and white. I’ve tried to get an answer from various online child protection groups and I’ve tried to get answers from parents. The answers range from any single use of any bad words (the list of bad words also varies wildly), any use of words in places where it is clear a bad word was intended (oh fudging heck), all the way up to “everyone swears, its a fact of life”.

MiracleWhip said it quite nicely in a comment she left on this diary, I hope she doesn’t mind me borrowing her words:

This really isn’t all that confusing.

Don Quixote has a rape scene in it and it’s not X-rated. Domestic abuse is described in Dickens without his needing to be racy.

X-rated material is written with a clear intent to sexually arouse its readers.

Nobody who’s smart enough to write that way should be confused about what is and isn’t adult writing.

The bottom line is that we’re not going to dictate what is adult and what is not beforehand because it’s entirely subjective. If we receive a complaint (or if a diarist openly comes to us and asks for our thoughts) then we’ll simply look at that diary and talk to the diarist. If you have to ask us then it probably isn’t an Adult diary – but be honest with yourself.

Can you talk about having sex? I don’t see why not, it’s a part of life on this planet. Can you discuss in detail what you did? I would suggest not! If you are writing to arouse (yourself and/or your readers) then that’s probably Adult.

There’s a lot more to Adult than just Erotica or describing your sexual encounters in detail.

Use your judgement and if you aren’t sure by all means get our opinion, if we receive a complaint then we will contact you to discuss whether or not you want to simply make your adult entries private, or move your diary into the adult area.

If people ask for the service, we could also investigate adding the capability of flagging individual entries as adult so that you don’t have to move your entire diary into the Adult area, just the entries that should not be read by kids or those that simply don’t want to fall on to this.

As Steve said, this is all now negotiable – within limits. We need to help protect the kids on the site (as well as those who don’t want to read Adult material) but we also don’t want to force anyone to go into the Adult area just because of one Adult entry.

I believe Steve has already commented on this but i’ll re-iterate just to make sure… To read any Adult diaries, as many times as you like for a year you get one account with AdultVerifier and that’s it. You don’t have to pay each time and not for each diary.

We have a support address and we have comments here, we’re very interested to hear what people say. We’ve had a couple of people email support just saying “please cancel my diary”, we’d really like to know what it is specifically that you dislike about this that makes you just want to cancel?

On a personal note, a big pat on the back to Steve, he’s been working damn hard to get this in and it’s cost him a bit of that mop on his head in stress 😉 Great stuff!

Goodnight all, it’s 1.30am and I’m a tad bit tired after repairing my server at home an hour ago :)

Matt.

PopUp Banner Ads

We received this from one of our ad providers today – I won’t name them because I haven’t been given permission to copy the mail even and I cut out any identifying bits. I’d like to thank them for taking the time to investigate and to actually write a personal note back to us.



We sincerely apologize for the error regarding the pop-ups. They were being

served to your site due to a technical glitch and which has since been

rectified, so you should no longer see the pop-ups served to your site.

Please accept our apologies and let us know if you have any further

problems.

So hopefully that annoying banner you all hate so much is gone at last!

Steve. Again. For the last time tonight cos I’m going to bed to – err, oops, wrong genre 😉